Chang Ge and her allies
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Li Chang Ge
Li Chang Ge, also known as Princess Yongning, is the daughter of former Crown Prince Li Jiancheng, who was killed by his brother Li Shimin. Now, Chang Ge is working to get her revenge.
- Action Girl: Not very impressive physically, but she compensates it with every trick she can think of, though she's not afraid or hesitant at all to get her hands dirty. That said, she's a competent martial artist, is extremely cunning, and has also added sword-fighting to her skill list.
- Arranged Marriage: Averted. She very narrowly avoided getting married off for a flimsy and uncertain alliance with the Turks when she was a child. It bears note that her father basically tricked her into agreeing to it (by saying her brothers were useless and that she was the only one who could help him), and that she escaped it because her uncle, as in, then-prince Li Shimin, fought so vehemently against the idea that the then-Emperor, their father, let it go since he didn't want his sons to quarrel over the matter.
- Badass Princess: Chang Ge is the daughter of the former crown prince, Li Jiancheng. The current Emperor, Li Shimin is her uncle. We get hints that Chang Ge would have been a serious contender for the throne had she been born a boy. She escapes her pursuers, the royal guards set on her by her uncle, by cutting the horse free from her wagon and riding on it, jumping over a wide chasm where the ladder has been destroyed, and then jumping off the horse to reach the other side.
- Beauty Mark: Exactly like her mother's.
- Berserk Button: Slandering a person she respects, hurting people she feels protective of, or doing something she sees as extremely irrational and overly emotional such as suicide will break her stoic facade and really set her off.
- Combat Pragmatist: Not afraid of using every dirty trick at her disposal to defeat her enemies, including poison and lies.
- Cute Little Fangs: But they sure can make her look borderline demonic when she's feeling particularly scary.
- Declaration of Protection: Declares that she will protect Mimi at all costs, because they have no choice but to stick together after Chang Ge saves her from death and Mimi finds out Chang Ge's true identity.
- Guile Hero: From making strategies to renting a cow to help some poor farmers, she has this in spades.
- Heroic BSOD: She's experienced a few so far:
- First, when Gong Sun Heng killed himself for the sake of his people, which also set Chang Ge on the start of her Character Development.
- Next, the much more severe one triggered by Mimi's death, which is also a result of suicide. In this case, Chang Ge was so distraught that she was ready to give up and die next to Mimi's corpse, and would have succeeded if not by happenstance.
- Still feeling the effects of the last one, she experiences another one when she finds herself unable to master the sword stances given to her by Situ Langlang, feeling herself lost, useless and a failure, which is also a result of her unable to reconcile her ideals and her wishes. She soon comes to understand what vexes her, however, and proceeds to make considerable progress in her current task, which further pushes her to resume working on her goals.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: In Shuo.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Because she tends to devote herself to her work, she also has the unfortunate habit to completely forget to care for her health, which has lead to her developing and nursing an illness since her time in Shuo province. It nearly killed her when she first arrived at Ashina Sun's camp, and would have if Mimi hadn't cared for her. It subsided, but hasn't been treated properly—an experienced doctor has already warned her that too much exertion will cause it to worsen beyond any hope of recovery.
- No Periods, Period: Averted. Hitting puberty is what gets her thinking for the first time in her life of what gender means.
- Mysterious Waif: To the Liu Yun Temple inhabitants and those associated with them, Chang Ge is this.
- Rapunzel Hair
- Refuge in Audacity: Some of her schemes rely on risky gambles or truly bold bravado, but she's lucky that they work.
- She-Fu: The new sword-fighting style she learned from Situ Langlang is a tamer version of this. Makes sense, considering the style is designed for women.
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: How the people of Shuo see her after the whole debacle is over. Chang Ge pointedly makes no attempts to explain herself despite getting slandered and pelted with rocks, stating that it is within human nature to seek out a target of resentment.
- Slasher Smile: Her reply to Wei Zheng basically asking her to quietly disappear and live in peace is to declare her intent to take her uncle's head...and a truly scary example of this trope.
- The Strategist: Becomes officially this for governor Gong Sun Heng and Ashina Sun.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: As soon as Chang Ge gets away from her initial pursuers, she begins crossdressing in order to hide her gender, knowing full well that she's much more likely to get easier by in life by presenting herself as a man rather than being forthcoming with her gender. Her true gender is naturally one of her most guarded secrets, and is only revealed to those she knows will not betray her. Currently, these people include Dou, Qin, the 18 horsemen of Yanyun, Sun and Mujin, though the last two were only informed of the secret out of necessity.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The tomboy to Mimi's Girly Girl, but only because Chang Ge doesn't really think about what being a girl means to her. She was raised like a boy, but her mannerisms and speech patterns are consistent with those of a high-class lady, contrasting with Mimi's feminine port, but upfront and borderline-confrontational behavior, which can be considered tomboyish in itself, creating an interesting contrast in their relationship, where they can be both considered Tomboy and Girly Girl to the other.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: So far, everyone who's learned of her gender has displayed this to varying degrees, except Qin.
- Xanatos Gambit: How to get past the soldiers guarding her "grave": give them poisoned candy from the most famous selection of the best maker in the city. But wait, the soldiers are trained to be cautious and would ask her to eat one first to make sure it's not poisoned. Does she somehow anticipate which one they would choose and make sure to leave that one unpoisoned? No, she poisons all the candies, eats the one instructed to, then secretly takes the antidote she had kept hidden between her fingers, so that regardless of which one they chose, she would come out alive and the guards dead by their gluttony.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Yes, despite some of her tomboyish tendencies, she's been growing into this trope ever since Mimi died and Liu Yun's people took her in.
- You Killed My Father: Her main motivation to kill Li Shimin. Though she seems more affected by the death of her mother.
Chang Ge's self-proclaimed apprentice.
An old retainer of Gong Sun Heng. Served five masters who had the potential to be the Emperor, but all lost to the Li family. Now serves Chang Ge.
A former subordinate of Gong Sun Heng. Now serves Chang Ge.
Luo Shi Ba
One of the "18 Horsemen of Yanyun" who served General Luo before his death. She now serves as Chang Ge's personal body guard.
Li Shimin, Chang Ge's uncle and the man responsible of the deaths of her family.
- The Emperor: Of China.
- Like A Daughter To Me: Shimin has been said to have loved and treated Chang Ge as if she were his own daughter, back when she was a child. Notably, despite the uncertainty of her death, Shimin lets the matter drop, looking distinctly distant and empty, and orders a funeral in a temple be arranged for the supposedly-dead Chang Ge and her mother, complete with a set of watchmen from the Imperial Guard to watch over the caskets.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: with Li Jin
- The Usurper: He's this in Chang Ge's eyes.
Chang Ge's mother.
A chancellor in the Tang court, sympathetic to Chang Ge's plight.
- The Good Chancellor: Helps Chang Ge while at the same time working for Li Shimin.
A chancellor in the Tang court who suspects Chang Ge is still alive and wants to apprehend her.
- Inspector Javert: He doesn't buy Chang Ge's supposed death and is still pursuing her.
A friend of Chang Ge's family who nevertheless joins the new emperor's court.
Gong Sun Heng
The governor of Shuo province.
- A Father to His Men: He's beloved by both his soldiers and the citizens of Shuo. In the end, he decides to kill himself to appease the Turks and avoid further bloodshed.
Adoptive son of the Great Khan and leader of the horde that attacks Shuo province.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: He really wanted to know why Chang Ge pretended to be a man from her own lips. So she told him. Everything.
- Dramatic Irony: Several times, Sun makes a comment on Chang Ge's feminine looks and mannerisms, attributing them to Chang Ge being a Han raised in a comfortable environment. Readers may crack at least a grin at his ignorance of the fact that Chang Ge is all he remarks "him" to be and more because "he" is really a she. He becomes all-too-aware of the irony himself once her true gender is revealed to him.
- I Owe You My Life: The reason Sun is so loyal to the Great Khan is because the Khan saved his life and took him in when he was a child and had nothing. It is because of this that he feels absolutely no compulsion to take the throne of the Great Khan, and is content to remain his loyal attack dog all his life. Now if only the Great and Lesser Khans would understand his feelings...
- This is also the reason why Sun moves to have Jiao Dan's Khitan tribe join his; because he owes his life to Jiao Dan.
- Also lists this as one of the reasons he considers Chang Ge his friend after The Reveal of her entire background.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Ruthless in the battlefield, but a friend of his friends, a man who repays his debts and a believer in the I Gave My Word trope.
- Undying Loyalty: Towards the Great Khan.
Ashina Sun's closest friend and second in command.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: To Sun. While Sun isn't incompetent exactly, he has no patience to consider all the ramifications of following his own whims. Mujin is there to make sure the fallout isn't too bad.
- Mixed Ancestry : Possibly half Uighur. It's been mentioned that he's received some flak for this in the past.
The Lesser Khan. Son of the former Great Khan and Princess Yicheng. Has a bad relationship with Sun.
The Liu Yun Temple
Priestess of the Liu Yun Temple.
A woman who leads the Liu Yun temple's trade convoy. She is a student of Jin Dan.
A Han woman who was captured by the Turks and then saved by the Liu Yun Temple.
A master swordsman determined to have Chang Ge as his disciple.
Also called the Master of Medicine, he is the teacher of Jin Dan and a man who is renowned for his kindness and knowledge of medicine. He treats people no matter their class and will even help them pay for their medicine or look for medicinal herbs himself if there aren't enough. He will even treat sick beasts he met on his travels.
- Older Than They Look: He's in his eighties.
An Uighur slave girl Chang Ge saved. She is seen by the Turks as Chang Ge's "wife".
- Driven to Suicide: Unable to bring herself to kill Chang Ge, who discovered her role, and because Chang Ge would not kill her, because they had both grown too close to each other, she decides to kill herself, seeing death as the only escape to her situation. Needless to say, Chang Ge did NOT take it well.
- Irony: She essentially threw her life away to save her brother's life, aiding in a political power struggle, not knowing that by the time her role was coming to an end, her brother had already long been killed by a plague.
- The Mole: She was sent to Sun's camp in order to monitor him and inform the Lesser Khan of his movements, waiting for a moment where Sun's thoughtless actions would give him an excuse to kill him, or engineer his assassination. She agreed to do the job if the Lesser Khan would guarantee the life of her brother.
- The Not-Love Interest: She fulfills this role for Chang Ge.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Chang Ge's Tomboy. See Chang Ge's entry on this trope for a more detailed rundown.
- Tsundere: Will frequently yell at Chang Ge or call her an idiot in a huff, but almost always does so because Chang Ge works tirelessly without regard for her health, and admonishes her for not looking after herself, and is thus constantly worried for her. Despite this, they are both very attached to each other, sharing several touching moments together. They are so close, borderline Les Yay, in fact, that her death triggers Chang Ge's most severe Heroic BSOD.
Princess of the Sui Dynasty. Married the former Great Khan for a peace treaty, and mother of the Lesser Khan.
Lady Jin Se
A refugee from the Sui Dynasty. Loyal to Princess Yicheng.
General Liyun, also known as Li of the King of Yan and General Liyun, was an old friend of Chang Ge's father who warned him of Li Shimin's ambition. After Chang Ge's family was killed he raised an army to rebel against Li Shimin, but was eventually defeated.
A farmer's daughter.